AP Spanish Exam Format

Instructor: Jennifer Beishline
College Board offers two Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish exams: Spanish Language and Culture and Spanish Literature and Culture. If you'd like to learn more about how each of these exams is formatted, check out the article below.

AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam

The AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam lasts around three hours and includes two main sections designed to test students' cultural knowledge as well as their ability to interpret written and spoken Spanish. Each section breaks down as follows:

Section I Format

Section I consists of two parts that together make up 50% of your exam score. In part A, students are presented with sample texts and asked to identify the main ideas, the author's point of view and the meanings of vocabulary words, among other characteristics. Part B asks test takers to answer a set of questions about a selection of complementary texts and audio recordings. A separate subsection contains audio recordings only.

Question Type Answer Format Time Allotted
Interpretive Communication (Part A) 30 multiple-choice questions 40 minutes
Interpretive Communication (Part B) 35 multiple-choice questions 55 minutes

Section II Format

Section II consists of four different tasks. In addition to writing a response to an email, students must develop a persuasive essay that incorporates supporting details from the texts provided. They're also required to generate responses to a mock conversation.

The last task presents students with an issue. They're then given a total of six minutes to develop and record a response comparing and contrasting their community's cultural views with those in a Spanish-speaking community.

Question Type Answer Format Time Allotted Percent of Exam Score
Interpersonal Writing 1 email response 15 minutes 12.5%
Presentational Writing 1 persuasive essay 55 minutes 12.5%
Interpersonal Speaking 5 responses to conversational prompts 20 seconds for each response 12.5%
Presentational Speaking 1 recorded presentation 6 minutes 12.5%

AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam

The AP Spanish Literature and Culture exam tests students' conversational Spanish skills in addition to their ability to analyze literature written by Spanish speakers from around the world. This exam also includes three hours of testing time and is broken up into two main sections.

Section I Format

Section I consists of two sets of multiple-choice questions. The first requires students to answer questions about a recorded author interview, poetry reading and oral presentation. The second set of questions revolves around a collection of literary excerpts and criticism.

Question Type Answer Format Time Allotted Percent of Exam Score
Interpretive Listening 15 multiple-choice questions 20 minutes 10%
Reading Analysis 50 multiple-choice questions 60 minutes 40%

Section II Format

Short answer questions in section II require students to read excerpts from literary texts and explain how they relate to the work as a whole, the context in which they were written or a work of visual art.

Students will need to analyze a sample text in greater detail to complete one of the essay questions. For the other essay question, they'll be asked to compare excerpts from two different texts.

Question Type Answer Format Time Allotted Percent of Exam Score
Short Answer Questions 2 brief written responses 30 minutes 15%
Essay Questions 2 essay responses 70 minutes 35%

Preparing for AP Spanish Exams

Students interested in brushing up on their Spanish language skills in time for either AP exam can check out's Spanish 101: Beginning Spanish course. Exercises included in the video lessons can help test takers sharpen their listening skills and practice responding to audio prompts. This course also includes self-checking lesson and chapter quizzes, a practice final and the opportunity to ask instructors for help at any time.

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